Copenhagen Wanderings

We had a five day weekend recently at my university for various reasons (consisting of Holland getting a new king, my university’s communist roots so we get off Labor Day even though it’s not typically an official holiday, and no one interested in work Monday if we get off Tuesday and Wednesday), and the lure of a nice stretch like that was too much to ignore.  So I dusted off my “places I want to visit in Europe while I’m living here” list- you bet there’s a list!- and noticed one that fit such a length of time perfectly- Copenhagen, Denmark.

I’d never been to Copenhagen before but everyone likes to tell you just how very similar it is to Amsterdam.  And I must agree, there is some truth to this.  Both cities have canals and are defined by the water…

copenhagen-canalLots of bicycles everywhere… though Amsterdam has several times more, and the locks people consider sufficient here wouldn’t last more than a few nights in the Netherlands…


A skyline defined by various spires and towers…



This particular spiral-y tower by the way is the Church of Our Savior, which you can climb up a narrow set of steps which were never planned for tourists and I don’t advise if you are claustrophobic.  And then the best part is when you go up to the top and it’s windy the tower shudders a bit in the wind, which makes you wonder about the old thing’s building code.

But anyway, to continue the similarities, right by the Church of Our Savior is another Amsterdam parallel, which is a place famous in Europe for tolerance and soft drugs!  Which in Copenhagen is the hippie village of Freetown Christiana…

IMG_0617I walked through Christiana and it turns out it’s small enough that if you’re not actually interested in drugs it takes all of ten minutes to wander through.  I would make an awful hippie; I don’t understand people who sit around all day doing nothing with their lives and dedicated pot-smokers usually fall in this category.

Plus hey, the Danish have very good beer, so why not enjoy that?

But anyway, comparisons to Amsterdam only go so far of course.  The most lovely difference between the two is Copenhagen has Tivoli Gardens smack in the center of town, which is the second oldest amusement park in the world (the oldest is 10km north of town)-


An amusement park that is as old as Tivoli is incredibly small compared to a modern one, meaning the few rides are either for small kids or spin around crazily (frequented by tourists and Danish teenagers), and most of Tivoli is more a focus on gardens with nice restaurants and what not.  Seeing as this was a typical Danish weekday there was even a free classical music concert going on, complete with an audience consisting of me and Danish geriatrics, which is a rather enjoyable way to spend a springtime afternoon, really…

All in all, a very nice city!

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